Mature Life Features

Cecil Scaglione, Editor

Archive for January 2023

Got To Thinking . . .

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. . .t’other day that

it’s OK for a gal

to wear her guy’s T-shirts, dress shirts, sweaters and such

but should he wear on of her dresses

it’s “we gotta talk” time.

Future of Telemedicine is Now

Telemedicine – the practice of getting diagnosis and treatment via your laptop or cell phone – has been gaining traction. Accelerating this drive is the unavailability of health care in rural (and some urban) areas because of the diminishing number of doctors as the over-65 crowd grows at the rate of 10,000 people a day.

One out of five residents live in areas identified as being short of health professionals. The advantage of being able to contact a doctor remotely became evident during the COVID-19 pandemic when people were confined to quarters.

Telemedicine opens the door to specialists as well as second medical opinions without taking up too much consulting time by the health experts contacted. It also reduces the stress on the patient as well as eliminating the need to travel to an appointment, which requires the patient to find a driver in many cases. Seniors fretting about their lack of computer equipment or skills find a telephone conversation may work as well.

Medicare has expanded its coverage of medical treatment by phone or computer. While not all health-insurance companies are following suit, several recognize telemedicine helps reduce the cost of health care. For example, it allows primary care physicians to schedule appointments at any time and not just the traditional “office hours” and reduces unnecessary office and emergency-room visits. It also lowers the cost of patient no-shows.

A barrier in the way of expanding telemedicine are reimbursement rules that require treatment to be conducted in specific sites, such as the doctor’s office or a health center. Government licensing laws also get in the way. Federal law requires telemedicine health-care providers to be fully licensed to practice medicine in the state where the patient is physically located. Health-care systems that have locations in more than one state may need to obtain multiple licenses.

Written by Cecil Scaglione

January 31, 2023 at 2:00 am

Posted in A Musing, Health, Humor / Quote

Tagged with

If You Want People . . .

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. . . to remember you,

borrow some money from them.

Don’t Choke on Pension Lump Sum

A couple we know lived through a lesson for all of us when the topic of pensions arises. The question focused on was whether they should take their pension cash with them when they retire or leave it with the company so they can receive monthly payments during their senior years.

They worked for different companies but both retired before the traditional 65-years-of-age so they could travel and enjoy life and living while they were still mobile and in relatively good health. They agreed that the wife would take her money and her husband would leave his with the firm because the total was much bigger and offered a much-more substantial monthly income.

They reached their decision after contacting a financial advisor to see what opportunities were available for investing the lump-sum pension check while still having money available for travel or medical expenses. They had set aside a sizable kitty over the years in bank certificates of deposit to cover day-to-day expenses until they could draw Social Security benefits.vEvery facet of their financial lives had been probed and programmed.

Except for one drastic occurrence.

Shortly after the husband quit working, a couple of deaths in the families that owned the controlling interest in his former company suddenly made it easy prey for a takeover. This resulted in a split in ownership/management philosophy. After a rapid series of internal battles, the company was sold. The new owners divvied it up into a handful of several divisions and sold each piece by piece.

And through all this, the original company pension was defunded and disappeared. The golden years planned by the couple were turned to trash.

This story is not to be taken as an endorsement of taking out retirement income in a lump sum. It does shine light on one of the perils of walking off the job without such an enticing check. A MetLife study revealed that one out of every five retirees who did leave the job with a lump-sum retirement payment spent it all in less than six years.

Written by Cecil Scaglione

January 30, 2023 at 2:00 am

During Our . . .

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. . .table conversation t’other day,

one of the guys said

there was a time when

he was addicted to the hokey pokey . . .

but he turned himself around.

Travel Insurance Sometimes Isn’t

Among the many lessons a lot of folks learned during the coronavirus shutdown is that travel insurance doesn’t always cover everything. Many would-be travelers found out that the trip-cancellation coverage they thought they had, they didn’t. Everyone learned that a world-wide pandemic changed all the coverage rules.

Some airline and cruise customers were fortunate enough to receive refunds for their fares. Most of these ticket holders, however, have been given vouchers that precluded them from making insurance claims to recoup their loss.

The real lesson here is ask questions and more questions when you buy the coverage. Some insurers do not provide coverage for mishaps suffered during such activities as skiing or scuba diving while you’re on your trip. You also have to determine if your policy covers you for any misadventure or cancellations caused by any act of terrorism.

Before putting together a travel-insurance plan, check with your health-and-medical insurance agent to see what coverage travels with you. Then be aware that trip cancellation insurance pretty well settles around injury, sickness or death of you, members of your family or a travel companion. You also have to make sure you define any and all coverage you want, ranging from emergency medical evacuation to lost luggage.

Written by Cecil Scaglione

January 29, 2023 at 2:00 am

Posted in A Musing, Travel

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Why Is It . . .

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. . . that people

who know it all,

never know

when to shut up?

On a Mission to Travel

Grand Canyon, Old Faithful, Hoover Dam, Mount Rushmore are but a few of the famous U.S. tourist attractions. Among the many overlooked possibilities for those seeking diversion is California’s Mission Trail – the 21- mission El Camino Real that became the foundation of the Golden State.

It’s a 600-mile journey north from the beaches of San Diego to the wine-making Sonoma Valley. It includes the nation’s second-largest urban center surrounding missions San Gabriel and San Fernando and one of the country’s most sung-about city, San Francisco. Each complex is different and offers a range of experience, from scenic to serene to historic to mid-town hurly-burly.

Written by Cecil Scaglione

January 27, 2023 at 2:00 am

How Can . . .

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. . . a stationery store


When It’s Time to Give up the Car Keys

A relative’s family keep casting hints and harpoons about his diminishing driving skills – loss of hearing, slow reaction time, eyesight not what it used to be, confusion in traffic, and on and on and on. So he lets his children drive him wherever he has to go – mainly medical appointments, although they do get out for dinner now and then. But when everyone’s away, he shuffles out to the garage, climbs in behind the wheel and takes the family flivver for a drive — around the block, around the parking lot of a neighboring mall and back into the garage.

He hasn’t told his family about these excursions but he could point out to them that older drivers are involved in fewer collisions and traffic fatalities on average than 70-plus-year-old motorists just a few years ago. One reason is safer cars. But the trend is important because the number of older drivers is growing as the population ages. And thanks to lifestyles, diet and medical advances, today’s geriatric drivers are healthier and more fit than their predecessors just a generation or two ago.

As long as you feel capable of driving and handling traffic situations, you should feel comfortable keeping your keys. You can take stock on when it might be time to give up your car keys.

Ask yourself if you can still read traffic signs readily and if you get lost or confused, especially in heavy traffic. Make sure your bad back doesn’t stop you from looking around to see if all is clear when you want to change lanes. Do family and friends still ride with you when you’re driving? And do you still like to drive?

Giving up our car keys means giving up our independence to most of us.  But the money you save on car payments, insurance, fuel, maintenance, parking and tolls can pay for more than enough cab rides. You can still go where you want to go whenever you want to, and you don’t have to drive.

Written by Cecil Scaglione

January 26, 2023 at 2:00 am

Posted in A Musing, Auto, Health

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My Tablemate . . .

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. . . was wondering out loud yesterday

if eating a clock

would be consuming too time.

Seeing is Relieving

Several years ago, a colleague joined a group of friends huddled around their hot chocolates on a frigid January day. After sweeping the snow off his overcoat, he took off his hat and tossed his sunglasses in it for safekeeping. Someone asked him why he was wearing sunglasses in winter. He explained that sunglasses don’t keep you cool in the heat of summer. They protect your eyes from the sun’s ultra-violet rays that can damage your eyes and help cut down the glare dancing off the season’s snow.

Many ophthalmologists recommend wearing sunglasses all year long whether it’s cloudy or sunny. Dermatologists also recommend using sun screen at all times to protect your skin from the sun’s damaging rays – even when it’s cloudy.

Eye-care experts have assembled a few simple steps to follow that focus attention on your eyesight.

They suggest you start with a good pair of walking shoes to get out for walks since even regular moderate exercise slows the development of glaucoma and cataracts as well as such sight-robbing diseases as diabetes and high blood pressure. Keep a pair of sunglasses right beside the shoes so you wear them when you head out the door.

While you’re out, you might visit your nearby drug store and pick up some eye drops. The pharmacist can suggest which might work best to protect you from dust, dirt and heat while keeping our eyes moist and comfortable.

When you get back home, check the lighting in all parts of the house and yard. Both harsh lighting and poor lighting can give you headaches. So can improper positioning of your television set and computer screen. Too high, low, close or far can also cause headaches as well as erode the health of our eyes. A good pair of readers will help for computer work by reducing eyestrain.

As with any health-related matter, start probing the problem and seeking solutions by discussing the matter with your family doctor.

Written by Cecil Scaglione

January 25, 2023 at 2:00 am

Posted in A Musing, Health

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If . . .

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. . . you want to get rid of your problems


work on getting a hangover


Grief Can Be Managed

One of life’s cruelest blows is the loss of a loved one. The first thing you have to do is face the fact that you’re mourning. Don’t fight your feelings as they gush onto you. They’ll range from self-pity to anger at the entire universe. They may strike right away or lay in wait to spring out at some unexpected later date. How long they last can be up to you.

Most everyone – experts as well as those who have experienced such a loss – suggest you conjure up and catalog the pleasant memories and consider how lucky you are to have had that person enrich your life. Be thankful for the happy times as you recall them. Keep trying to have the best day you can because your feeling of loss is not going to go away.

You may never whistle or hum a happy tune again, but don’t feel guilty when you get through the day without feeling tired all the time. Returning to your daily routine will help get you closer to normalcy – eat, sleep, and exercise like you used to. Go shopping, have coffee with friends, and call relatives like you used to.

If somebody in your circle is experiencing the same loss, reach out and share some time with them. Talking about your loss, and theirs, can help both of you climb out of grief. There’s no need to place the deceased person on a pedestal. The simple thing to remember is that they were your friend and you enjoyed time together.

You’re managing your grief well if you catch yourself smiling or laughing again.

Written by Cecil Scaglione

January 24, 2023 at 2:00 am

Posted in A Musing, Health

Tagged with ,

Historic Palomar Observatory

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By Tom Morrow 

With a $6 million grant from the Rockefeller Foundation, astronomer George Ellery Hale orchestrated the planning, design, and construction of the world’s largest astronomical telescope on Palomar Mountain about an hour northesat of San Diego, CA. 

It took 20 years to complete the Hale telescope that was double the diameter of the 100-inch-diameter reflecting telescope in the Mt. Wilson Observatory north of Los Angeles. The Palomar project pioneered many new technologies in telescope-mount design and in the fabrication of its aluminum coated “honeycomb” Pyrex mirror. Since its completion in 1949, Palomar in active use as one of the world’s largest and most-sophisticated land-mounted telescopes. 

For more than 30 years, the Hale Telescope represented the technological limit in building large optical telescopes until the Soviet Union built a six-meter (236 inches) one in 1976. Palomar remained the world’s second largest until 1993 with the construction of the two 300-plus-inch Keck optical telescopes atop Mauna Kea in Maui.. 

Palomar is operated by the California Institute of Technology and continues to conduct research programs that cover the vast range of our observable universe, including near-Earth asteroids, outer Solar System planets, Kuiper Belt objects, a variety of star formations, and black holes. Research research partners include the Jet Propulsion Laboratory,Yale University, and the National Optical Observatories of China.  

The first telescope built on the Observatory complex was an 18-inch Schmidt camera put into operation in 1936. In addition to the giant 200-inch Hale Telescope, there are the 48-inch Schmidt Telescope, Palomar 60-inch Telescope, and 12-inch Gattini Telescope, all of which are involved in continual research. The 48-inch and 60-inch telescopes operate robotically and are active in deep-space exploration.

While Palomar Observatory is a research facility, there are selected Observatory areas open to the public during the day. Visitors can take self-guided or guided tours of the 200-inch telescope daily from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. The observatory is open seven days a week except for Dec. 24-25 and during inclement weather.

Written by Cecil Scaglione

January 23, 2023 at 2:00 am

Posted in News / Events, Travel

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All Things . . .

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. . . must pass,

we’ve been schooled to believe,

but what do you when

you’re behind a school bus.

Strokes Kill More Women

Than Does Breast Cancer

One out of every five women between the ages of 55 and 75 will have a stroke. The risk factors include smoking, high blood pressure and obesity.

Because stroke robs the brain of blood and oxygen, it kills brain cells that can lead to
paralysis, loss of speech, loss of memory, diminished reasoning, coma — sometimes death. Stroke leaves more than 60 percent of its victims disabled.

To protect against stroke, avoid smoking. Studies indicate about one out of four women 18 and older are smokers. Eating a balanced, low-fat diet to control blood cholesterol levels also helps. And maintaining even a moderate level of physical activity helps control weight.

Written by Cecil Scaglione

January 22, 2023 at 2:00 am

Posted in Health, Humor / Quote

Tagged with ,

When You Tell Jokes . . .

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. . . avoid any about the unemployed

because they don’t work.

Preparing for Death Helps the Living

Several years ago, a friend in his early 40s who was the police chief in our city, was diagnosed with raging cancer and given a few weeks to live.

He called all his friends and colleagues to a night at a local club and hosted a farewell party. At the beginning of the evening, he told everyone of his situation, told them all to eat and drink up and that he didn’t wish to see them anymore because he wanted them to remember him as he was that night.

That was his funeral.

You don’t have to do the same thing. You can acquire a life-insurance policy payable on your death to be used to pay for the casket and caterer when you pass away.

You can pare the price by opting for less-expensive cremation rather than pay for an elaborate and costly sealed box to house your remains underground.

There’s no need to buy a pre-paid package from the funeral home down the street.

In fact, some two-thirds of the more than 70-million aging baby boomers do not perceive traditional funeral-home service as a good value. Slightly more said they do not trust funeral homes to not take advantage of people during their time of sorrow.

You can work out your own funeral plans simply and economically. First ask yourself if you want an elaborate service and several-day visitation or do you prefer a simple gathering of relatives and friends. Do you want to be buried in a casket or is cremation your preference? What does your family want? Discuss it with them.

Just as sure as you were born, with which you had nothing to do, you’re going to die, but you can so do something about the arrangements.

Written by Cecil Scaglione

January 20, 2023 at 2:00 am